June 23:  Comillas to Unquera 44922 steps

Out of the castle, down the hill and off on the Camino.  The day started early again, so breakfast was short and sweet in the room from provisions purchased the night before at the grocery store.  

At the junction of the castle road and the village below, the Camino turns upward onto a narrow paved lane, which rapidly turns to gravel, then rocky road.  The heart gets a early jump start today -- the inclination is almost vertical -- well, the nose isn't too far from the road's surface!   Up and up and up the hillside with very little variation in degrees.  Just when relief seems imminent, the road shoots up again.  Higher and higher up out of the valley and across the mountain top. 

It is hard to imagine the early pilgrims trudging along with all their possessions, maybe a donkey or horse, and cart, on these "roads" -- but guess, like us, when there is a will there is a way!!

Today was once again a string of small villages and hamlets.  An occasional bar or cafe was open so that cup of coffee, that tapa, and that ever helpful coke was available.  It is amazing how the body adjusts to the daily stress, but becomes dependent on the coffee or coke to push itself forward.  Just a few minutes rest and the body is recharged!!

Ascending to the top of one hill found us at the site of a small altar complete with offerings of sausage and cheese.  A pilgrim must have passed -- such small items with such a big meaning!

The day was a series of ups and downs, no one too difficult until the very end.  Reaching the top of a hill covered with trees and underbrush the road ended and a narrow foot path began.  At first it didn't seem any more difficult than those before, but surprise -- the test of the day was to navigate through a foot deep of mud and grime.  Several attempts to go around through the thick underbrush failed, so the direct approach seemed the only way.  Fortunately the mud puddle was only a few yards long.  Then as the feet started to dry out, the path went off a cliff -- a slate, gravel and mud slope that went straight down to the highway below.  Footing was difficult and trying, but all made it only to find that to get to the road one had to climb down into a drainage ditch and then up the other side!!  Once again -- where there is a will there is a way!  The thought of the hotel being only a few kilometers away and dinner maybe an hour can make anyone dig down and push those feet a little farther. 

Frankie on the Camino

Sue in the Eucalyptus Trees

View on a Misty Day!